(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

Doctor suspended in U.K. and New Brunswick after online chat with cop

Dr. Hafeez Awan was sanctioned after making ‘sexually motivated’ remarks

A New Brunswick doctor who was found guilty of misconduct in England after an online chat with a cop posing as a teen has been suspended from practising in New Brunswick for nine months.

The suspension, announced Saturday by the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons, matches a suspension earlier this month by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Hafeez Awan was sanctioned after making “sexually motivated” remarks to someone who identified herself as a 13-year-old girl.

The person he was conversing with in an internet chat room, by text message and on WhatsApp was actually a police detective.

The electronic conversations at issue occurred in January 2016 when Awan was working in Leeds and nearby Wakefield. He moved to Canada in October 2017, and began a practice in Saint John.

The board of the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons met Friday to consider Awan’s case.

On Saturday, registrar Dr. Ed Schollenberg said they adopted the suspension from the U.K.

“We reached an agreement with Dr. Awan that he would allow us to impose the same penalty they did in Britain. Basically, being found guilty in another jurisdiction of misconduct is, in itself, misconduct for our purpose,” he said in an interview.

In its ruling, the U.K. tribunal said that after being told he was conversing with a 13-year-old, Awan “continued to try to engage with Person A via different social media platforms and made inappropriate and sexually motivated remarks to her.” It says he tried to arrange to speak with her by telephone when an adult would not be present.

Transcripts of the messages entered as evidence show Awan, who was using the name Medic333, asked, “r u at school?” when Person A said she was 13. In a later conversation, when she said she didn’t want him calling when her mother was there, he replied, “i know what u mean.”

He later told her they would not be able to meet until she was 16 because it would be illegal.

The tribunal noted that Dr. Awan told Person A that he was a doctor during the initial conversation on Lycos.

While these conversations did not take place in a clinical setting, the tribunal considered Dr. Awan to have breached his “position of trust,” the ruling stated. “It took the view that Dr. Awan’s conduct was unbefitting with that of a registered medical practitioner.”

In his evidence to the tribunal, Awan said he believed the chat room was for adults only and that Person A was lying when she said she was 13.

A lawyer told the tribunal that prior to the allegation, Awan had an unblemished record, and he only became aware of the allegation after moving to Canada in October 2017. He said Awan has taken positive steps to ensure the misconduct is not repeated.

Dr. Awan could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Dr. Schollenberg said Awan will be able to practise again in New Brunswick when the nine month suspension expires.

ALSO READ: B.C. doctors’ corporate profits are key in private-care trial: federal lawyer

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street opened on March 31, 2021. Interior Health is asking for funding from the Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District for the centre. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Interior Health seeks another shot at primary care funding

IH has sent a request for $1 million to the Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

Most Read